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The movie based on my life, which will be titled “Kathmandu, a mirror in the sky”, has got a long and interesting story behind it. There’s been a number of people who envisioned an exciting movie project, and some of them begun to wonder how to bring this idea to fruition. The first one to be interested in the movie has been a woman, who worked on production with the cine director de cine Bigas Luna around 2004. She wanted to co-direct with this emblematic director.

Bigas Luna was really into the idea and we  sympathised from the first moment. He wanted to divide the movie into stages: Youth in the Spain under the Franco regime, the first years in Nepal, and the current situation. He wanted for the movie to have three character, and for me to appear in the last stage. He told me I could be a very good actress.

It seemed that the project could move forward but in reality he liked the project so much, that he didn’t want to share it with anyone. They didn’t manage to reach any agreement and in the end “a a hedge between keeps friendship green”.

The second attempt came from the writer Javier Moro. He was like a brother to me. He has been enthusiastic for years about the idea of making a movie based on my life. In order to consolidate the subject, he joined forces with the producer of documentaries Larry Levene. They decided to work with the prestigious Cuban director residing in the USA, a very good friend of Javier. Larry and the director came to Nepal. Two days before their arrival I had a premonition dream. (I never remember my dreams unless there is a message behind.) And this time, the dream was more of a nightmare foretelling what was to come. The cinema director was a victim of an ambush and he ended up meddling in my private life in such a shameless and sinister way, that I have decided to cancel the contract I have signed, and forget about the movie forever.

Javier Moro insisted on retaking the subject but, even though I forgave the Cuban director because I saw him as a victim, I decided to forget about the case.

Nonetheless, during one of my visits to Spain, Larry Levene spoke to Rafael Amargo, so that he would convince me to accept the contract again, because they were going to change the director. After a few days of reflecting upon the subject we resumed the negotiations.

Back in those days, Penélope Cruz was being considered for the main female act. I know from a reliable source, that she liked the idea and was interested in the role. However, she has already signed some contracts and wasn’t going to be available within the next six years. We couldn’t wait so long.

The second actress in the casting was Belén Rueda. I believe she might even have had a preliminary contract. I liked Belén a lot and I had an interview with her during one of my visits to Spain.

We had the main actress and we were looking for the director. During the autumn of 2009 I was under the protection of the Spanish government in the house of the Honorary Consul of Spain for Nepal. I experienced some circumstances of maximum danger and I had to remain there because I was threatened with death.

In this period, Larry Levene arrived to Nepal with the cinema director Luis Bardem (cousin of Javier Bardem). I have met him already and I liked a lot his simplicity and humanity. They wanted us to go for locations search but the Honorary Consul, Mme. Ambica Shrestha categorically refused. She had strict orders from the government to not let me out under any circumstances because my life was in danger.

I wouldn't know how to explain what happened afterwards; there seem to be different versions of the story depending on the person. I never saw Luis again and after some time, someone trustworthy told me, that some differences came up during the preparation of the contract and that he was no longer directing the movie.

Later on Larry Levene told me, that Universal Pictures has joined to form part of the project and that they chose Icíar Bollaín to direct the movie.

As far as I understand, Iciar wanted to narrate the story only in the beging of my life in Nepal. I thought that Belén Rueda was a bit too old to interprete the role of a 28 years old woman. In those moments another candidate was being taken into consideration: Maribel Verdú. In the end, Iciar Bollain decided to organise a casting for the role of my persona and this was how Verónica Echegui appeared.

A big change took place; Javier Moro was leaving the project on bad terms with Iciar Bollain for reasons related to the movie script.

The movie got produced and this is what matters. Nobody imagines how difficult it was to  shoot in a country like Nepal with countercurrents from the first minute. Everyone who participated in this project is a hero in my opinion. Though the heroes too commit errors and they don’t have to be perfect.

 

Victoria Subirana

10-01-2018